Namaste Trump: POTUS visit to India

Donald Trump visit to Ahmedabad | Kerala social worker Aswathy Jwala launches hunger strike against wall ‘to hide slums’

600-metre wall apparently to hide slums from U.S. President Donald Trump’s sight.

Kerala’s leading social worker Aswathy Jwala, who founded the Jwala Foundation that provides food and shelter to the displaced and the elderly, has launched her hunger strike at the Sharaniyavas slum where the Ahmedabad civic body has built a 600-metre wall apparently to hide slums from U.S. President Donald Trump’s sight during his Ahmedabad visit on February 24.

“I read in the newspapers that the Gujarat government has built a wall to hide the slum. I was shocked about this and decided to come and meet the slumdwellers and support them with my hunger strike,” she told The Hindu on Tuesday.

“I met and talked to these people and learnt that they are scared by the police so I am here to support them. What the government is doing is nothing short of atrocity against slumdwellers,” she added while going on the hunger strike in a tiny corner of the newly built wall.

Also read | Donald Trump visit reason for our eviction, say Ahmedabad slum-dwellers

She demanded that all these people living in the slums for decades must be rehabilitated with proper housing by the government.

“The Gujarat government and its agencies are spending approximately ₹80 crore to beautify the city ahead of the U.S. President’s visit. In the name of beautification, they have constructed this wall to hide slums,” she added, slamming the authorities for coming up with the idea.

Asked what brought her all the way from Thiruvananthpuram to Ahmedabad, she said ‘humanity’ and added that “instead of hiding slums, the authorities and governments should work to make the country better. “Why not work to eradicate poverty so that there are no slums instead of hiding slums,” she asked.

The wall has been built by the civic body to ensure that President Trump does not have any glimpse of around 800 slum houses dotting the main road from the airport to the Indira Bridge from where his convoy will likely pass by.

Also read | Will accord Trump a memorable welcome, says Modi | Editorial: Birds of a feather — On Trump-Modi chemistry | Looking forward to India visit, says Trump

Though civic body chief Vijay Nehra has denied any link with building the 6.5 ft high wall with the high profile visit, residents of the decade-old slum area stressed that the municipal corporation wants to hide them from President Trump’s sight.

MrTrump is coming to attend “Namaste Trump” a mega event the government has organised in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat on lines of the Howdy, Modi! event held the U.S. in last September when President Trump remained present.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:23:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/donald-trump-visit-to-ahmedabad-kerala-social-worker-aswathy-jwala-launches-hunger-strike-against-wall-to-hide-slums/article30854419.ece

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